Last year, a layman from our May River churches began holding evangelistic meetings in an unreached village called Itari among the bush people. These seminomadic families live an even more primitive lifestyle than our May River church members. This layman raised up a small church, and a few people are now ready for baptism.
One of the families from this faraway village happened to be visiting when I asked for three men willing to clean up our building site. A father of two from Itari came to work with his six-year-old daughter. She helped us pick up short pieces of lumber, bent nails and pieces of plastic. But her favorite job was shoveling sawdust from a huge pile into wheelbarrows, which the men then dumped some distance away.
As we worked, I couldn’t help but notice that the little girl was wearing a stained pink dress that was ripped in the front down to her waist. Only her arms in the sleeves kept the dress on. She frequently stopped to tug the torn fabric together, as it was obviously annoying her, but she said not a word of complaint.
Then I remembered that we had some little-girl clothes back at the house. I went home and got a pair of dark-pink shorts and a light-pink shirt. I called her over and held out the clothes for her to take. Her whole face lit up in a big smile. Right there, she modestly slipped the shorts on under her ripped dress then put on the shirt. Then she ran to her dad, bubbling with happiness over her first-ever new clothes.
I will never forget that smile.